In June, you explained Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD). Can you share some information about treatment for SPD?

As children interact with the world around them, they experience all types of sensory input. However, a child with a Sensory Processing Disorder is typically more cautious and does not interact with the environment as readily as a child who doesn't have sensory challenges.

For example, if an infant is hypersensitive to touch, he may dislike the sensation when his hands touch the floor; therefore, he may not willingly crawl away from his mother and explore his surroundings. When exploration is limited early in life, this can lead to delays with skills such as gross motor, fine motor, or speech and language. The goal of therapy is to provide therapeutic sensory experiences so that a child can make sense of those experiences and explore and learn from the environment.

If you suspect that your child has sensory processing issues, have a physical or occupational therapist with experience in this area conduct an evaluation to determine which sensory systems are not functioning efficiently. Based on the results of the evaluation, the therapist will make appropriate recommendations for treatment. In therapy, a child is exposed to a sensory-rich environment in a controlled manner giving him opportunities to respond appropriately to the different kinds of sensory input.

One or two sessions of therapy per week are often recommended, and the duration depends on how well the child responds to therapy. It is important for the therapist to include the parents in the treatment process by allowing parents to observe therapy (when appropriate) and providing sensory recommendations to be carried out at home. Most importantly, therapy should always be fun!

 

Developmental Pro, Anne Zachry

Anne Zachry, Ph.D. is a pediatric occupational therapist, child development specialist and mother of three. She's had articles published on Parenthood.com, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine online, has written a parenting course for Daily OM, and writes for a variety of regional parenting magazines.

Dr. Zachry's research has been published in national peer-reviewed journals, including The Southern Medical Journal, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, and The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, and she's had articles published in her profession's trade magazines, Advance and OT Practice. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and she has also given numerous presentations to parents and teachers on a variety of topics related to infant and childhood development.

Her websites are Dr. Anne Zachry and Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips.